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Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Murray in mint condition
You will recognise his voice. It has an unmistakable localised warmth.
In much the same way as Bryon Butler's dulcet tones purr from the south-west and Ron Jones's resonate from the Welsh valleys, John Murray's accent originates from the Northumberland farming community.
After five years with BBC Radio Five Live, Murray is well established as one of the station's principal football commentators.
Sport Online set off to track the 33-year-old from Brussels to Bruges for a typical day in Euro 2000 to answer the question: is he the consummate professional or just the guy who got the lucky ticket?
7.30am: Get up, have breakfast, buy the English newspapers and start work, continuing preparation for tonight┐s game between the Czech Republic against France.
8.30am: Ring my colleague Ian Brown, who covered the Czechs' first game against Holland, and he gives me some background on the way they lined up and the details of a sending-off, because I had not seen the game.
9.30am: Home in on the French, who I saw in action last Sunday against Denmark. That was my first game of eight in this tournament and I must admit I was a bit nervous beforehand.
The night before a game I try to go to bed at a reasonable hour and prepare in a similar way to how I do at home. It's a bit like playing: you want to recreate your usual build-up.
10.30am: Update my details on the Czechs. We have known which games we are covering for three months so I have been able to pay more attention to the teams I am commentating on, noting snippets of news and watching out for their friendlies.
For this game tonight, I have got my cards covering the players from France and the Czechs, and now I update a few details according to what has been happening this week. I will reread them again this afternoon and dovetail that with the very useful BBC booklet on the players.
All of this is not dissimilar to your exams when you are younger. You are doing your work in May, building up to June and the exams.
The crucial difference is
this is an exam where you can take your notes in with you. If you are giving
me the choice of covering Euro 2000 and doing my A Levels again, I know
which I would take.
1.30pm: After a spot of room service, we set out for Bruges. This is where our Brussels-based producer Roy Calley is such a great help.
It's Roy's role to make life as easy as possible for me, Ron Jones my fellow commentator and Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, and our co-commentator. He covers all the telephone requests we get from local BBC stations back home, World Service or whoever and is inundated fom morning till night.
I am based solely in Brussels for my entire stay, right through to the last quarter-final. So we are travelling to Liege, Charleroi and Bruges, all within reasonable distances, which means you can get back at a decent time and you are not tired all the time. That can be a real peril at a tournament like this.
3pm: The media centres here in Belgium are so congested, I tend to go and find an empty seat in the stand to go through my notes again and exchange useful stats with Matt Barlow, the reporter with the Press Association.
4pm: I have got a good hour going through all my information, up in the seats near the commentary position, going through how we say the names with Craig and Ron. The team lists come out after a while, without any great surprises.
5.30pm: Having written the team formations out on a folded piece of A4, to hold in one hand while I hold the mic in the other, I do a voice piece for the 5.30pm desk. If there had been a major item of news - Zidane left out or whatever - we would have alerted the desk and gone on earlier.
5.55pm: I like to write my first couple of sentences out just to get me going and I emphasise how rousing the French national anthem is for the players and their supporters. The teams run out and we realise Lizarazu is not with them. Ron holds out two fingers to indicate Candela is a late swap from the printed sheet. I saw Roma a couple of times last season so thankfully I am familiar with him.. First goal
6.07pm: I get my first goal of the tournament to report on - at last. The seats we are getting at Euro 2000 are fantastic and I can see the defender's mistake clearly as Thierry Henry opens the scoring.
6.35pm: Ron has Graham Poll, the English referee, giving the Czechs a penalty. He calls it right. When you are not commentating, you try to help, send a quick note or whatever. But Ron's initial call is proved right and Karel Poborsky levels.
7pm: Peeling eyes for half-time substitutions, it's clear Manu Petit has been
replaced by Youri Djorkaeff. I change my sheet accordingly. A glut of late
changes can make life tricky.
7.22pm: Audrey Roberts, producing back in London, provides regular updates through our earphones on the Edgbaston Test Match and the US Open. I am just saying Nick Faldo is two under par as Henry goes down the left wing, and, perhaps lacking the experience Ron Jones would have used by cutting off there, I add the relayed news that Faldo is just about to start his second round.
Then I find I am rushing to say that a loose ball falls to Djorkaeff who scores. It is not ideal - better to describe the build-up to a goal.
7.50pm: I do feel the adrenaline pumping as the match ends and it will take me a while to wind down. It has been a colourful match - the excellent level of entertainment maintained, the British officials involved and Scottish and English flags offering support from Crystal Palace to Yeovil Town.
These are the kind of details I like to throw into my commentary, the images, because obviously you want to provide the listener with what he can't see.
8.20pm: Had plenty of time to record my 40-second match voicer. I draft a version, time it then cut it back till it fits exactly. Record that live, while Ron does a piece for the next morning.
9pm: After sending his interviews down the line, Roy drives us back to Brussels where I can have a couple of beers knowing that tomorrow I have a day off - almost.
Better get started on my work for Norway against Yugoslavia on Sunday night, and for Belgium against Turkey on Monday.
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